Helen Kirk


Roles and responsibilities

Astronomer, Millimetre Group: Provide support for the Canadian ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array) community, and help to develop services to encourage new Canadian ALMA users.

Current research and/or projects

Creating a platform for Canadians to more efficiently process and analyze ALMA data.  Improving our understanding of how stars form within our Galaxy, particularly in clustered environments.

Research and/or project statements

- ALMA computing platform: Currently, a platform by which researchers may log in and access and process ALMA data in a computing environment with sufficient memory, processing power, etc.  Other features will likely be added in the future.

- Star formation research: I study the property of dense cores, concentrations of material which will one day form stars.  In particular, I am studying the clustering properties of cores to determine whether the local clustering properties have an influence on what types of stars are able to form (e.g., can massive stars only form in the centres of clusters?)


Hon. B.Sc. Physics and Astronomy, University of Toronto, 2003

M.Sc., Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, 2005

Ph.D, Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, 2009

Professional activities/interests

international teams, work with students, data processing and support


Adjunct professor, University of Victoria

Member, Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA)

Key publications

Kirk et al 2017, The Astrophysical Journal, 838, 114

Kirk et al 2018, The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 238, 8

Kirk et al 2016, The Astrophysical Journal, 821, 98

Previous work experience

August, 2013 – August 2017

National Research Council of Canada

Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Data processing and management support for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope Gould Belt Survey

September 2012 – August 2013

McMaster University

Banting (Postdoctoral) Fellow

  • Independent (postdoctoral) researcher at the Origins Institute

September 2009 – August 2012

Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (2009-2011) and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (2011-2012) Postdoctoral Fellow

International experience and/or work

3 years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, USA

Helen Kirk

Associate Research Officer
Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
5071 West Saanich Road
Victoria, British Columbia V9E 2E7
Preferred language: English
Telephone: 250-363-0024


Space sciences, Astronomy, Observational astronomy